And Swing They Did!


Last night, the Music Society had everyone in the audience dancing, even if only in their seats. Swinging at the Movies was a resounding success with both students and towns people alike as the Big Band of the University of St Andrews, or ‘Big BUSTA‘, and the University  of St Andrews Concert Wind Band took the stage to present a program filled with Jazz and film classics.

‘Big BUSTA’ opened the concert with Jazz classics like In the Mood, My Funny Valentine, and La Bamba. Note must be taken of Big BUSTA’s conductor Matthew Johnson, whose energy on stage was contagious and spread throughout Younger Hall. Possibly the most entertaining conductor I’ve ever seen, he was lively and really had fun with the job by dancing around onstage. He truly let the soloists have their moment in the spotlight by stepping off the podium and encouraging the audience to clap once they’d finished. When asked about conducting, Matthew said he doesn’t get nervous, but that speaking to a crowd is a bit terrifying for him. “The audience last night was terrific though. The whole theme of the night was to have fun and listen to some good ol’ film tunes, so it was great to have such a fun and receptive audience.”

Speaking of, audience participation in Pennsylvania 6-5000 added a bit more fun to the evening, especially for the kids, and brought smiles and laughter to nearly everyone in the audience. A highlight for me would have to be the children and SwingSoc dancing in the aisles during Jailhouse Rock. Overall, everyone seemed to really enjoy the Jazz portion of the evening!

During the interval, everyone, whether a child or just young at heart, was invited forward to play on the percussion instruments set up in front of the stage. One mum watched on and snapped pictures as her eager son played saying that the evening was “a breath of fresh air”. She expanded, saying, “It’s refreshing to have an event that the whole family can enjoy! There’s something to entertain everyone, and to have the children able to get involved during the interval is fantastic.”

Conducted by both Matthew Moran and Erica Innes, the film portion of the evening was eventful in its own right, with Wind Band members dressed up as characters from each piece they played (Village people for YMCA, Blues Brothers, and Disney characters). As the concert started again, the audience was invited to “grab your popcorn, sit back, and relax as the movie is about to begin.”With that, the Concert Wind Band began playing the 20th Century Fox intro, arranged by Erica, as the perfect start to the second half of the program, which was filled with medleys of (mostly Disney) films and TV show theme songs.

A crowd favorite seemed to be the Pirates of the Caribbean piece, which ended to much whooping and hollering from students in the balcony. Again, there was an audience participation element in the Shrek Dance Party piece, where everyone was encouraged to join in the ‘YMCA’. When asked about her favorite piece of the night, Erica said, “My favourite was definitely Les Miserables, the music for that is stunning and I think the band more than did it justice. I did have a lot of fun conducting Shrek though!”

If you missed last night’s performance, be sure to get yourself along to St Salvator’s Chapel this Saturday (1st December) for some Christmas Carols at the Winter Wonderland Concert. Or, if you’re in the mood for more Jazz, then head to the Boys Brigade Hall for Big BUSTA’s Swing Connector Saturday Night Party.

Keep calm and bubble on! Xxx


Photo credit: MatthewBuchan


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